While someone can do things because they want to do them, they can also do things because they want approval. When this happens, one is going to be focused on what other people think of them.
If this is something that takes place from time to time, it might not have negative effect on their life. Yet, if this is something that takes place on a regular basis, it is going to cause someone to disconnect from themselves.
Point Of Focus
Their point of focus will be on others, and this can then set them up to overlook their own needs. However, all the time they have such a high need for approval, they are not going to be thinking about what is taking place within them..
During the moments when they get approval, they might be able to feel good about themselves. But no matter how good they feel, it might not be enough for them to experience a sense of fulfilment.
Short Term Solution
When someone looks for approval from others, it is generally going to mean that they need to receive it all the time. It won’t be enough for them to receive it on the odd occasions, and this is because it won’t last.
Once they have received approval from others, they may find that it soon wears off. What this can show is that it is not possible for them to internalise the feedback that they are receiving from others.
Playing a Role
One reason why it is not possible for them to internalise what they receive can be because they are playing a role. What this means is that their ‘true self’ is being covered up and their ‘false self’ has taken over.
Therefore, although one is receiving approval, it is not going to be for the person they are; it will be for the role they are playing. If one was able to let go off their need to play a role and was able to embrace their true self, their need for approval would diminish.
When this happens, one will be their own best friend as opposed to their own worst enemy. And while their need for approval won’t disappear, it won’t end up controlling their life.
What this will show is that they are an interdependent human being and not a dependent human being. They will be able to approve of themselves as well as receive approval from others, and the approval they provide themselves will be what matters to them.
There will be some people who always been in touch with their true self and then there will be others who have developed this connection as an adult. To get in touch with one’s true self as an adult may have taken hard work and commitment.
This could have been a time where they had to face the emotional pain that was within them, and this wouldn’t have been easy. Yet, through grieving their unmet childhood needs and through being affirmed for who they are, they would have gradually been able to let go of their false self.
Doing the Same Thing
However, even though some people will let go of their false self (and their compulsive need for approval at the same time), there will be others who will continue to act in the same ways. In the past, one would have been able to receive approval through what they did around others.
But this has all changed, and one no longer needs to be around others in order to receive approval. In today’s world, the only thing someone needs to do in order to receive approval from others is to use social media.
Signs of Approval
As a result of this, there is no need for them to go into the ‘real world’; they simply need a device that supports social media. one can the share a picture, status, or a video, and see how many ‘likes’ or ‘retweets’ they get.
If what they share receives a certain amount of ‘likes’ or ‘retweets’, they may believe that other people approve of them. The feedback they have received from others has then given them permission to feel good about themselves.
This can then set one up to be in a position where the responses they receive on social media define how they feel. If their ‘friends’ and ‘followers’ give them the feedback they desire, it is not going to be a problem
However, when they don’t get the kind of responses they need to feel good about themselves, it is going to cause them to suffer. One’s wellbeing is then in the hands of others, and they can end up being addicted to receiving positive responses from others.
The positive responses from others will allow them to feel good themselves, whereas, when they don’t receive these responses they will feel bad about themselves. Based on this, it is easy to see why someone could end up in a position where they are addicted to receiving approval from people on social media.
When someone ends up being addicted to drugs, alcohol, or to working out, it is because of how they feel without these things. If they felt different to begin with, they wouldn’t have the need to be addicted to them.
What this shows is that while it would be easy to blame social media, it is also important to look into why someone would end up in the position they are in. For example, if someone doesn’t accept themselves to begin with, it is going to be easier for them to be caught up in how other people respond to them on social media.
In this sense, it could be said that social media is just another way for someone to avoid how they feel. If someone is unable to accept themselves, it might be important for them to seek external assistance.
If you feel this has been of value, please leave a comment, like or get in touch. And feel free to share this article, as many others have.
Oliver JR Cooper
Oliver JR Cooper
Author of 25 books, Transformational Writer, Teacher & Consultant.
To book your free 15-minute consultation, click here.
That which is contained within these articles is based on my own empirical understanding and is true for me at the time they were written. However, as I continue to grow, what I perceive as the truth will inevitably change and as a result of this - parts of these articles may not reflect my current outlook.